Opening A Checking Account - Choosing The Right Bank

By Janice Larsen
Updated March 25, 2015
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Opening A Checking Account - Choosing The Right BankChecking accounts are the most convenient way to manage money in the contemporary world. They make paying for goods and services, paying for rent and other bills (whether through the mail or online), and getting paid by an employer extremely easy.

What Is A Checking Account?

So what is a checking account? A checking account is a bank account through which an individual can easily access and disperse financial funds, whether through checks, a debit card, or other means. A checking account is most commonly associated with bank-issued checks, which deduct funds directly from your checking account and through which you can pay for services, though current checking accounts are also accompanied by a debit card for electronic transactions, whether online or at a retail store.

How To Open A Checking Account

In order to open a checking account, it is important that you know about the bank you choose and the documents that they require in order to open a checking account. Typically, banks will require that you provide your personal information, including legal name and date of birth, and that you are able to verify your identity through supporting documentation.

A valid state-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license or passport, is accepted as a verifying form of identification, though banks usually require two such pieces of identification, which can also include a valid credit card or social security card. Some banks may also require that you provide a current mailing address. Most banks will also conduct a search within a national database which tracks your previous banking records, which can disqualify certain candidates with poor banking track records, though many banks may still offer a second chance checking account to these individuals.

Most banks offer online checking accounts, through which you can electronically transfer funds to other accounts, such as a savings account, or to pay off bills online. This can be much more convenient than paying bills through standard mail and it will save you money on stamps. There are also a variety of other features offered through online checking accounts which are not available through traditional accounts, such as near-instant access to your financial records, which are stored in a secure database and accessible to the account holder.

When you are approved for a checking account, your bank will issue you a checking account number which serves as the unique identifying number for your personal account. Your checking account number, which is typically about nine numbers long, is printed on your checks along with the routing number for your bank.

You will often need to provide this checking account number, along with the routing number, in order to set up automatic or manual financial transactions, such as direct deposit from an employer or direct online bill pay for utility bills, for example. You will also receive a debit card with a unique number which is not identical to your checking account number. Your debit card number, along with the security code on the back of the card, will be essential for purchasing goods online.

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This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other health-care professional.